A virtual kidnapping scam targeting female Chinese students has hit Vancouver.
According to the RCMP, the cyber extortion scheme tricks victims into believing their loved ones have been kidnapped. It’s a scheme that has been reported worldwide.
Now it appears there have been six incidents reported in the Lower Mainland.
The RCMP, who is in contact with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Vancouver, is working with other police agencies as well as a liaison officer in China to further investigate.
Mounties said Chinese students in Canada were initially contacted through an automated phone message that urges them to call Chinese officials after being told their personal information had been compromised and they are now connected to crimes in China.
The suspects, who claim they are Chinese government officials, then coerce the victims into a series of actions and if they don’t comply, they’re told their families back in China will be hurt.
At the same time, the parents of the victims are contacted and convinced their family members are being held against their will; which leads to a demand for money.
The PRC Consulate General would like Chinese students studying in Vancouver to know the following:
“Should any Chinese citizens be involved in any legal cases in China, the relevant legal documents will be mailed to them directly from Chinese diplomatic missions. No phone call will be made to verify any personal information, especially the personal banking information.”
The RCMP said anyone who gets this type of call or message should not comply with the demands.
“We are very concerned that there may be more victims and we do understand that people may have some apprehension about coming forward,” said Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau said in a release.
“But, I want to assure you that the police are here to help you and we will thoroughly investigate these incidents.”
Anyone who may be a victim of this crime is asked to call their local police department, RCMP detachment or Crime Stoppers.
By Paula Baker